SAVE NOW: How to make a family budget | Greater Saint-Louis Suburban Newspapers

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(Metro) Household budgets can help families thrive and survive in the event of unexpected financial problems. Establishing a family budget is not an easy task, as many factors must be taken into account to arrive at a budget that provides families with a future without sacrificing their daily quality of life.

To develop a budget that all household members can live with, household heads must first have a good understanding of their finances. First, determine how much money is coming in and how much money is being saved. Next, make a list of the family’s financial obligations, including costs associated with housing, food, transportation, utilities, and other monthly bills like student loan repayments. Be thorough with this review and you should have an idea of ​​how you’re spending your money and where you can cut back, if needed.

Heads of households need to honestly assess their money behaviors. Are you prone to impulse buying? Do you keep track of your daily expenses? Can you cut back on some daily expenses, like morning cups of coffee at the cafe or lunches at a restaurant? Although you may have little leeway when it comes to big expenses such as car and housing payments, you can probably save substantial sums by reducing small day-to-day expenses that can add up to large sums over time. . Track your “money spending” behaviors, noting every purchase you make, no matter how small. After a few weeks of tracking your daily expenses, a picture of your financial behaviors should develop and you can then see if there are any areas where you can save money.

Determining a need versus a want

Once you see how you are doing financially, you can then make a list of which daily and monthly expenses are considered a need and which fall into the “want” category. For example, morning coffee might be a need, but why not brew that coffee at home and take it with you instead of buying an expensive cup every day from the coffee shop near your office? You can keep some of the items that are on your wishlist as daily or monthly rewards, but try to eliminate the ones that jeopardize your monthly finances. And don’t forget to include contributions to a savings account in your list of needs.

A good understanding of income, bills and behaviors and knowing what is a need versus a want should put heads of households in a position to develop their budgets. Stick to your budget for a month, then assess how you and your family have adjusted. Although the adjustment may be difficult at first, by the end of the first month you may notice that any financial stress you were feeling has started to dissipate and you may even make an effort to tighten up a bit. plus the purse strings as you seek to save more money.

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